Kids take over the quad

Marissa Montoya

The Library Quad at Sacramento State was recently taken over by the brood of the campus Children’s Center for its 30th annual “Day on the Quad.” The outdoor classroom day celebrated national “Week of the Young Child,” recognizing the importance of childhood and honoring the people who work with young children.

Numerous tents and classroom toys were placed around the quad for napping and other activities. Art work was strewn along clotheslines and blankets were placed under shady trees for the infant’s nap time. One tent held plants and flowers, which are nurtured by the center’s children and staff.

“There is a curriculum for our older children, which is called the project approach,” said Denise Wessels, director of the Children’s Center. “Each classroom selects a topic that they really want to learn more about and really explore. For instance, a classroom might choose gardening so they will be planting and learning about foods that we eat that can be grown in the garden.”

The convenience and affordability of the Children’s Center is invaluable to student-parents who are already struggling to maintain class schedules, homework and studying, work and family life.

Virginia King is a graduate student with a 22-month-old son enrolled at the center for his second semester. King is more than pleased with the benefits of the campus Children’s Center.

“It helps in every way because our grad studies program is during the day for the most part so I wouldn’t be able to go to classes,” King said. “It’s not expensive. They have a really great philosophy. They work with him the same way we do at home.”

Amber Lopez, a senior grad student, has been taking her only son to the center since last semester and is also very happy with the program, although she wishes the center offered night time availability.

“They are a really great program,” Lopez said. “I am rest assured he is OK. I know he is well supervised. It is huge to have the center here.”

The center is not only a valuable resource for student-parents, but also for students majoring in child development. Wessels said that the child development department sends over at least 50 students each semester to earn fieldwork intern hours.

Vanessa Marquis, a grad student, started at the center as a fieldwork student, which lead to a student assistant position. Marquis secured a spot as a fellowship teacher and is now a temporary lead teacher.

“I love seeing the milestones happen and I love the relationships I build with the children,” said Marquis, who is responsible for meeting all the basic needs of the children, as well as helping coordinate the daily curriculum and training the student staff.

The Children’s Center is an Associated Students, Inc. program whose budget is supported by student fees. Wessels explained that they have a large subsidy program that helps maintain very low, or no, cost for parents. High-income families do pay fees. The center accepts children from six months of age to five years old, and student families receive priority enrollment.